“And [Jesus] said…’My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” II Corinthians 12:9
As we first learned about our pregnancy, I thought about what it was going to be like to be the only person on the planet to enjoy this entire process with Sunday. I was going to be the only one to watch her stomach grow. I was going to be the only person to see her entire body morph and change with every new week. As she held her breath with every weigh-in at the doctor’s, I was going to be the only one to talk to her about it, stepping each step with her, noticing things that other people couldn’t. I was going to be there. I couldn’t wait.
Sunday’s attitude about gaining weight was controlled, at first, with her lifelong pursuit of a healthy body. But whether she wanted it or not, for the first time since she was fourteen years old, she gained weight.
That first trimester was a hoot. She only gained weight in her stomach. She looked like she had a perpetual case of bad gas. Since it was only in her stomach, she immediately grew out of her pants. She would pause in front of mirrors and pull up her shirt, showing her stomach. I would watch her. She didn’t care that she was gaining weight or that her clothes were becoming a part of her past-tense conversations. And she was happy.
Until that fateful day…
I was sitting on the couch, either watching some form of football game—college or pro—or I was reading something. I looked over at our loveseat and Sunday’s face was so low, it looked like the corners of her mouth were resting on her knees. She was sad.
Being the sensitive husband I am, I continued to watch television.
After a few commercial breaks, I could tell that she was staring at me. So I asked, “Do you need something, babe? Iced tea? Snack?”
Then, the point of conversation every man hates. Without saying a word, her chin began to quiver. I had said something or I had done something. Somewhere in the universe, justice was speeding to our living room, ready to deliver the death whammy on the formerly peaceful place we called our home. I was doomed.
Without muting the television or sighing too loudly, I quickly moved to the loveseat and put my arm around her. “What’s wrong?” I said.
“No, really. You’re dripping on your new pants. What’s wrong.”
“These pants aren’t new.”
“Is that the problem?”
I immediately knew that I was wrong.
“Sorry,” I said. “Can you tell me why you’re crying?”
“You’ll think I am stupid.”
“You’re not stupid, babe. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“You promise you won’t think I’m stupid?” I nod my head.
“I am wearing your pants.”
I didn’t get it.
Here’s where a woman may understand this new revelation more quickly than I did. I didn’t understand that her size was so deeply connected to who she was. Her larger size changed how she had defined her body for the previous 14 years. Although she was changing because she was a woman creating something only women create, she felt less like herself because she was wearing my pants.
Then, I tried to cheer her up. I scooted away from her a little bit, and I said with a chuckle, “And what’s wrong with wearing my pants? I wear them every day.”
She looked at me. At this point in the conversation, I officially became the most insensitive man on the planet. Literally. I got a trophy and everything.
I think about this scene, even years after it happened. This conversation about the size of pants caught me totally off guard. To be honest, I think it caught Sunday ill-prepared, too. But being surprised wasn’t the worst part: I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand that gaining ten pounds at a time was going to be difficult for Sunday, even though gaining weight comes with being pregnant. In my mind, getting larger was a part of the show, a slice of life for me to enjoy. For Sunday it was a confusing time, fraught with uncertainty and discomfort. We weren't ready for this.